Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Elusiveness of Now


The moment one attempts to seize the now it is already past. Each word as I am currently typing it is already at that moment part of all that has taken place on earth and belongs chronologically to that which is no longer now. 

The now cannot be seized directly for the moment it is seized and acted upon, e.g. through verbalisation, it is a no longer now, an event. That being said,
"The past is never dead. It is not even past."
Indeed, taking this blog post as an example, even though it already belongs to the past as soon as I write it down, it will be preserved for some time through the medium of its technological presentation. 

The magic of recording something, whether through visual representation, writing or, more latterly, with video and audio equipment means that the no longer now is still accessible in the present and future moment, i.e. the not yet now. 

The past is therefore not dead in this instance and has left a trace on both present and future just as events in one's personal life leave a trace in one's psyche's memory, today and tomorrow. 

Perhaps the earth, supposing it were conscious, is a database of all that has happened on it and indeed traces of past civilisations and epochs can be dug up archeologically, geologically and biologically. 

And by mere virtue of looking at the no longer now one is making it a now again, i.e. the past is accessible through consciousness, through memory, through attention.

As Arendt and Heidegger were keen to point out, the queen of the Muses was none other than Mnemosyne, Dame Memory, and she consists of all the events that have already taken place which, for philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, is the essence of truth, truth in this case being absolute but likely to be perceived in different ways and from different angles.